July 29 2002 – A conservative-led coalition, if it won national elections in September, would install an energy regulator in Germany to ensure fair competition, shadow economics minister Lothar Spaeth said in a media interview.

“It’s scandalous…competition is being strangled in these key (energy) sectors,” he was quoted as saying in the Monday edition of the weekly magazine Der Spiegel.

“As in telecommunications (where a regulatory authority already exists), we will put in place a powerful and effective authority to ensure fair competition.”

Spaeth, a Christian Democrat who is part of a centre-right coalition aiming to replace Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder’s red-green government, said the absence of energy regulation in Germany meant market newcomers had no chance.

Germany so far has opted for negotiated, rather than regulated access to its power and gas distribution networks, which makes it unique in the European Union, where all other members have state authorities to monitor the process.

Spaeth said because newcomers to the market had to negotiate with former monopolies the price of power grid and gas pipeline access and usage, they stood no fair chance of succeeding.

“It can’t be that newcomers…have to ask former incumbents at what price they may use their networks,” he said.